Janta Ka Reporter has learnt that the central government has spent almost Rs 22 crore on just the transit hotel accommodations of MPs belonging to various political parties.
The government’s total expenditure on MPs’ hotel bill may be even higher as more information is awaited from three big ITDC hotels.
An RTI reply in JKR’s possession says that this expense occurred during the first one year of Narendra Modi as prime minister.
The RTI reply said, ” A sum of Rs 21,90,45,362 has been incurred on the stay of Members of Parliamentin transit accommodation in hotels during 26th May, 2014 to 11th May 2015.”
The CIC office has also instructed the managers of Hotel Samrat, Janpath and The Ashok in New Delhi to provide the required information.
This revelation is bound to generate debate on the central government’s so-called austerity drive. In October 2014, the government had announced its intention to embark on what it called was its austerity drive.
As part of this campaign, the government had barred bureaucrats from travelling first class on overseas visits, holding meetings in 5-star hotels and to use video conferencing as much as possible.
The government had further said that it intended to cut the non-plan expenditure by 10 per cent. A government communication had said, “While officers are entitled to various classes of air travel depending on seniority, utmost economy would need to be observed while exercising the choice keeping the limitations of budget in mind. However, there would no bookings in the first class.”
In March this year, newspapers had reported on the government running up a bill of Rs. 25 crore on the hotel stay of Lok Sabha members in the capital since the May 2014 general elections. This had prompted the government to come out with a policy to to limit MPs’ hotel stay to the days only when Parliament was in session.
This revelation will embarrass India’s political class as, according to the census data released in 2011, as many as 18 lakh people still lived without houses in roadside, railway platforms, under flyovers across India.
Moreover, a report published by UN Millennium Developments Goal in 2014 had concluded that India was home to the largest number of poor with one-third of the world’s 1.2 billion extreme poor living here. It also had the highest number of child mortality with 1.4 million children dying before reaching their fifth birthday.
Modi had fought last Lok Sabha elections promising achche din (good days) for common people. The revelation that the government continue to splash crores of rupees towards MPs’ hotel stay when millions in the country don’t even have a roof over their head will not go down well with people at large.